Now don't get me wrong, Lara is a great jumper. Ask my husband to describe her behavior each morning when she greets him. What Lara was very scared of doing was moving toward or in-between the two uprights of a single Agility jump. I have wanted to teach Lara to jump for many weeks as this is a very easy way to build confidence in a dog and it’s a great way to exercise them. 10 minutes of jump work with my Aussie Bailey at a high intensity and she is pooped for the day.
Last week at DogSmith Franchise Training Lara came into herself. We watched her grow each day in confidence and in skills. Rachel and Susan worked with her almost every day, a few minutes here and there. By the end of the 14 days Lara was running up to greet them. They were able to shape her to touch a target stick on cue. They could hold her leash and have her 'sit' and 'down' on cue and Rachel even managed to walk her around on a leash. WOW.
As Lara's confidence grows she is generalizing her skills across other people more quickly. It took me months to put a leash on her and walk her around without panic across her face and body. Now in a few short sessions she adapts to new people.
This short video demonstrates the power of having a 'touch' cue with a scared dog. This was the first cue Bethany and I taught Lara almost a year ago and it became very handy to have in our tool kit. It is how we moved her around, in and out, when we could not touch her. It is how we shaped her to come close to us and it is how I shaped her to walk on a leash one step at a time. In the video below I used the 'touch' cue to move her between the uprights and over a small jump. The videos we take of Lara don’t show the excitement and delight we experience when she learns something new. If you make loud noises or sudden movements around Lara she runs for the hills.